Newlyweds Dean Altenhofen and Dr. Sydney Crackower from Lafayette chose Saturday to tie the knot because it’s Southern Decadence weekend in New Orleans.
This year’s edition of the gay festival marks the first Decadence to be held since same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states .
The ceremony was followed by a second-line parade to Brennan’s Restaurant. Though the two men reside in Lafayette, they were determined to get married in New Orleans, where they spend most weekends at their condo in the French Quarter.
Altenhofen acknowledged that lifelong commitments are not synonymous with the image of the Southern Decadence festival, the South’s biggest gay party, which features bawdy events like the annual “Hot Ass” contest, among others.
“It is ironic,” he said, noting that he’d had no problem booking a time at the French Quarter Wedding Chapel on Saturday afternoon for the couple’s ceremony. “But Decadence is also all about being free and being who you are. It’s a time to celebrate,” Altenhofen said.
For that reason, the timing seemed perfect.
But in other ways, the ceremony seemed long overdue. After all, the couple met nearly two decades ago in an ancient online meeting place called an AOL chat room. They held a commitment ceremony in 2001, which made them “partners” in most people’s eyes.
This summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, they knew they were headed to the altar.
“Now, after 15 years together, we can finally say, ‘We’re married,’ just like everybody else,” Altenhofen said.